Nanny State Alert: Put Out Your Cigarette Or Get Fined In Boston

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January 14, 2014 2:24pm PST

A new ban in Boston, effective immediately, prohibits smoking in city-run parks.

Individuals caught smoking cigarettes, marijuana, or other “lighted or vaporized” substances will be slapped with a $250 fine.

251 separate parks and cemeteries are affected by the ban — this includes the Boston Common, one of the most popular and central places to go in the city.

Park rangers will be responsible for enforcing the ban, but officials are trying to encourage citizens to enforce it themselves. Signs alerting people of smoking rules will be posted at each city-run park — Boston officials hope that park-goers will see the signs and report smokers to park rangers.

Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission, said, “Secondhand smoke in any concentration is dangerous. There’s no safe level of exposure. [The new ban]  makes it less normal for smoking to happen around you.”

Mayor Thomas M. Menino was also in support of the new rule. In a public letter, he wrote, “This amendment is necessary to maintain the health and safety of our public parks and ensure that these valuable resources can be enjoyed by all Boston residents.”

The Boston Globe reported, “The ban is an expansion of an existing law that prohibited smoking at so-called tot lots. Six other large US cities have similar bans, including Chicago, New York City, San Francisco, and Los Angeles, according to the Health Commission. In Massachusetts, 35 municipalities have banned smoking in parks, beaches, or some other public space.”

Bureaucratic do-gooders in cities like Boston, New York, and Chicago have been passing regulations in the name of “keeping us healthy” for years.

Is smoking a health concern? Absolutely. But government interference and laws are not always the answer.

Laws dictating our food and lifestyle choice consistently fail at making us healthier consumers. But more importantly — when did it become the government’s job to control how we live? Of course, food and lifestyle regulation is tied to the advent of public health care. When Washington provides and pays for your health care, it will then try to control what you eat and smoke. Government keeps growing.

Still, it is easy to understand the logic behind an attempt to prevent secondhand smoke.

What are your thoughts on this matter?

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